The EleUke Peanut is definitely not a traditional ukulele. Its unique shape and sound make it stand out from the crowd. But EleUke has packed plenty of features into their tiny Peanut, and created an ukulele that’s fun to play and easy to take wherever you need to go. Read our full review, and see if the EleUke Peanut is the right fit for your ukulele collection!
At a Glance
The EleUke Peanut is a compact soprano-scale electric ukulele that makes for a great travel companion or quiet practice ukulele.
- Slim profile
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Solidly built
- Noisier-than-ideal pickup
- Sound distorts more easily than it should
EleUke bucked a lot of traditions when it built the Peanut. First off, it’s a solid-body electric ukulele, meaning it has no resonant chamber in the body. But even a lot of solid-body ukes retain some of the shape of a traditional ukulele, or take on electric guitar shapes. EleUke, on the other hand, has made this in the shape of, well, a peanut. It’s essentially a slimmer version of the normal figure-eight or hourglass shape of a soprano uke. It means that the Peanut is extremely compact. In fact, the body is only a couple inches wider than the neck!
EleUke has still managed to pack a lot into the Peanut’s small body. There’s an active pickup/preamp system along with a 1/4″ jack to plug into an amplifier and a 1/8″ jack for headphones. Most solid body ukes like the Peanut also have an aux-in port, to plug a smartphone or mp3 player in. EleUke does that one better, with built-in wireless Bluetooth connectivity. All of this is powered by an internal battery, which can be recharged using the USB charging port, much like a cell phone.
The first thing you’ll realize about the EleUke Peanut is that it’s a little awkward to hold without a strap. That’s why there’s a strap provided, which is just about essential to getting a comfortable grip on this uke. Action was a little high out of the box, but that’s more a matter of personal taste. Intonation is very good up and down the neck. The tuners needed a bit of a tighten, but hold tune well.
Otherwise, it plays just about as well as any soprano-scale ukulele. In fact, if you use the included strap, it plays and feels like a traditional ukulele. Those who are dead set against using straps for some reason might not like the feel, but EleUke has done a remarkable job of slimming the Peanut down without affecting playability
The big selling point for the Peanut is the Bluetooth connectivity, which EleUke added recently. The interface is pretty simple, and works very well. Like many Bluetooth speakers, you hold down a button to make the Peanut “discoverable,” and then connect to it on your phone. It’s a one-way connection; you can’t send a signal from the ukulele to the phone. It’s there so that you can play along with your favorite songs through headphones.
The pickup and Bluetooth systems are powered by an internal battery, another change to the original model. I’m EleUke decided to switch to an internal battery on the Peanut, but it has its pros and cons. On the one hand, it can get up to 10 hours of battery life on a full charge, which is much more than most similar ukes get out of a 9 volt battery. Charging is easy using the micro-USB port. There’s a cable included, but many people with Android phones will find that their phone charger works with the Peanut.
That being said, it is nice to have the ability to quickly swap out a battery if you absolutely need to. If you’re planning on playing a gig or have a long trip ahead, make sure to remember to charge the Peanut up. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use any of the electronic features.
Here’s a video from the creator of the EleUke Peanut, Philip Kwak, demonstrating the sound and Bluetooth connectivity on the ukuele:
As a solid-body electric ukulele, the EleUke Peanut makes little to no sound when it’s not plugged in. This is great if you want to practice quietly. You can also plug in headphone so that only you can hear what you’re playing. Through the headphones, the sound is fairly clear, although it can distort if you strum really hard. Music streamed to the phone sounds just as good as with any Bluetooth device. You can get a good mix between your ukulele playing and the music by using your phone and the volume knob to control each one separately.
Speaking of that volume knob, it’s joined by a tone control knob much like those on an electric guitar. You get a pretty good range of tone from round to jangley, and you can crank the volume pretty well. Again, once you get to the top of the volume, there’s a bit of distortion, but it’s loud enough that you probably won’t need to go that high.
Once plugged into an amplifier, the EleUke Peanut has a pleasant tone similar to an electric guitar. It’s a little muddy, and could definitely use some EQ’ing if you’re going to play it live. The pickup is a little noisy as well, and prone to picking up handling noise. I’d hesitate to recommend this to anyone who wants a natural acoustic sound when it’s plugged in. The Godin MultiUke, while more expensive, does a better job of replicating the more traditional ukulele sound. The EleUke Peanut is best treated like an electric ukulele, not substitute for an acoustic one. Plugged into an amp with a bit of distortion or an effects pedal, it sounds great.
EleUke has gone out of the box for the Peanut, and it’s come up with a fun little ukulele. If you’re looking for a compact travel ukulele, or something to practice quietly with, it’s the perfect uke for the job. It’s also great for anyone who wants to rock out with an electric ukulele. While it doesn’t have the most traditional look or sound, the EleUke Peanut makes a compelling case that sometimes, traditions are meant to be broken.
Also published on Medium.